Screenwriting for Film & Television

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Master of Arts

Degree Type

Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts


Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Film and TV are the most impactful modern storytelling mediums, and the demand for new voices is greater than ever. Gain the experience and skills you’ll need for a thriving career in screenwriting.

Program Overview

Immerse yourself in the business of screenwriting.

As a student in Western’s MFA and M.A. in Screenwriting program, you’ll learn about Hollywood standard writing methodology and gain valuable insights into how this exciting business works. Through a dynamic blend of coursework and hands-on experience, you’ll learn how to find your place in the industry, elevate best practices and use this highly visual and theme-driven medium to display your knowledge and creativity.

Industry insights

Bill McAdams Jr. answers questions following the screening of his new film, “Gallows Road” in Western’s University Theater.


At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Code Title Credits Description
CRWR 600 Summer Orientation 1 View
CRWR 661 Film History and Analysis; the Visual Narrative 2 View
CRWR 662 Story, Conflict, Character, and Genre in Screenwriting 2 View
CRWR 663 Screenwriting, Competition, Representation, the Option 2 View
CRWR 665 Screenwriting Genre 6 View
CRWR 668 Television Drama and Sit Comedy 6 View
CRWR 671 Writing the First Feature-Length Screenplay 6 View
CRWR 675 Writing the TV Pilot 6 View
CRWR 678 Adaptation 6 View
CRWR 690 Screenwriting Master’s Capstone I 6 View
CRWR 691 Screenwriting Master’s Capstone II 6 View
CRWR 694 Capstone 1-3 View


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

The Program

Acquire critical skills and experience in an efficient and effective program.

Western’s MFA and M.A. in Screenwriting is a low-residency program, meaning faculty and students interact online during the academic year and gather for two weeks in July on campus for classes, lectures and writing.

  • MFA students attend three summer residencies: one prior to the first semester, one between years one and two, and one in the third summer.
  • During the academic year, full-time MFA students take two courses each semester. These 6-credit courses make use of videoconferencing and the Canvas platform for online work.
  • To complete the MFA, students work on a thesis throughout their final year.
  • M.A. students pursue an identical curriculum to MFA students, but only come for two summers and one academic year and do not write a thesis.

Modern storytelling

We believe in teaching our students how to find their place in this industry, elevate the norms, invite in the unexpected, and use this highly visual and theme-driven medium to shake up the world with their stories.

Opportunities and Partnerships

  • Portfolio built of two feature films, a TV pilot (Network/Cable/Streaming), a TV Spec and multiple shorts (in various Genres)
  • Intense focus on crucial development elements, structure and character build
  • Business and career plan coaching
  • Critical analysis and script coverage training
  • Instruction on cutting edge business, legal and getting into production
  • One-on-one mentorship and class workshops, online and in-person
  • Intimate workshops with visiting artists during the summer residency
  • Robust alumni association and support
  • Ability to take a course from the program’s other concentrations: Genre Fiction, Poetry, Nature Writing, and Publishing.
  • Ability to add a second concentration to their degrees, allowing for unique combination degrees, such as Screenwriting and Genre Fiction or Screenwriting and Publishing.

On-campus screenings

Julie Johnson from Rocky Moutain Public Media speaks about Water Week prior to the Water Channel’s “Western Water and Power” premiere.

Department Information

Graduate Program in Creative Writing


Tyson Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.

Director, Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Program Support Coordinator

Corinne Sublette

Program Support Coordinator

Contact Information


Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Quigley Hall 117
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231